Thursday, 20 September 2007

The Work Ahead

I have posted previously on the inspection of the domes of the vault; the results of that insepection are now becoming clear, and it is a sobering picture. Of the four domes, three are protected by a mesh that has helped proetect their surfaces, and has stopped debris from falling. On the picture below, the mesh can be seen as a series of rectangular lines:

Compare this with the dome over the crossing, which has no such mesh:

The mesh can be seen here in close up detail; it is in the nature of an 'inverted sieve':

However, in many parts, the mesh is coming loose. The image below shows deterioration in one of the joining strips:

The first part of the work, then, is to place a mesh over the fourth dome, and to repair those existing in the other domes.

Even more worrying, perhaps, is the state of the concrete and brickwork, where vibration from wartime bombs, daily traffic nearby, and even the Grand Organ, have opened cracks:

The mortar in between the brickwork is dangerously decayed, and some bricks are not securely held in place. The picture below shows one such situation in a high-level arch:

For much of 2008, scaffolding will be erected in the nave of the Cathedral for this urgent work. Our task is to find funding for it - the lower end of the cost will be £1 million, and when other factors are taken into account (we will not, for example, be able to hold concerts, so there will be a loss of earnings), the figure for this work alone will be nearer £2 million. We have applied for an English Heritage grant, but otherwise will be seeking finding from donors. A huge task ahead!


Andrew Teather said...

Sorry to hear it. The Holy Name in Manchester had it's interior filled with scaffolding for a few months and it was very unsightly. It must be frustrating to work in a beautiful building when it is full of scaffolding and noise. I have a funny turn when the lightbulbs need changing!

Anonymous said...

Hopefully those of us who have come to know and love this building and its mission better through reading Mgr. Mark's blog over the last few months will rally round at this time of need and spread the word!

Anonymous said...

As a suggestion would you think about doing a presentation of what needs to be done and what it will look like after the restoration. The more beautiful the project the more likely people will give and you look like you've got some great plans afoot.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, will we all need to wear hard hats? :)

Andrew Teather said...

I can lend you a fiver and a bottle of gin!

Anonymous said...

Have you thougt of a PFI scheme to fund the work? (like the govt uses to build new hospitals and schools).
Basically you sell the cathedral to a private company and rent it back from them at an extortionate rate. As the new owners, the private company do all the building work.